COLUMBIA — Plots for teen TV dramas may seem frequently based on characters' immaturity and interpersonal conflict.
But for several Rock Bridge volleyball players, according to junior middle hitter Caitlyn Beck, the Monday night gatherings they host to watch the CW's "Gossip Girl" help bring them closer together.
Beck, who credits the idea for the viewing parties to captain and senior outside hitter Courtney Darkow, said that's just one way teammates bond.
"We try to stay pretty good friends, since we're together so much," she said.
Teammates often sit together at lunch and hold sleepovers.
"We're all friends. That's no problem," said captain and senior setter Aly Perry.
The Bruins may need to call on that team unity to rebound from last week, when they were swept by rival Hickman and Hermann on consecutive days. They will compete in the Camdenton Tournament on Saturday and play three more matches next week.
Before the 2008 season began, Rock Bridge chose the motto "No Regrets." What you don't want to do, Perry explained, is leave the floor after a loss or bad play dwelling on what you could have done to change the outcome.
"It was the seniors' choice," Beck said of the motto.
"Every team sets its own goals," coach Beth Newton said, adding that she thinks the "No Regrets" concept fits well with this year's team.
So what does Rock Bridge do before its next match after suffering a sweep in the previous two?
"We usually have talks before each game," Beck said. "We usually go around in a circle," and anyone can address whatever she feels will help the team.
To stay constructive and avoid blaming teammates, Beck said players generally open with comments acknowledging something they individually need to improve. Practices often begin with chances for players to talk as well.
"I think that's really good... (to have) team discussions," she said.
Beck praised the captains, Perry and Darkow, for helping with the team's direction.
"They have really good leadership abilities. They know what to say," she said. "AP's (Perry) the setter; that's a big part of why she's (a) captain."
Beck compared Perry's leadership role for Rock Bridge to that of a football team's quarterback.
Even with those assets in hand, players know there are many strong opponents waiting in the Bruins' way.
"I think it makes it more interesting. We're not gonna have an easy season," Perry said. "We really want to win districts this year."